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OverwatchJan 17, 2019 10:00 am CT

Overwatch Contenders international live events are an important addition for pro players

Overwatch Contenders, the professional Overwatch tournament that’s one step down from Overwatch League, is introducing international live events to its latest season.

The eight regions that make up Contenders teams will be split into two divisions, much like the teams in Overwatch League: Atlantic and Pacific. Each division is made up of four regions that will send their best teams to their division’s live event.

The Atlantic Showdown takes place in China, from May 24 to May 26, and will include one team from Australia, two teams from China, two teams from Korea, and one team from Pacific. The Pacific Showdown’s location is TBD but will be somewhere in Europe or the Americas, and it will be from May 31 to June 2. The Atlantic teams include two teams from Europe, three teams from North America, and one team from South America. Both of the showdowns will take place during Overwatch League’s mid-season break, and both will utilize the double elimination format.

All of this leads to a live event called The Gauntlet. This is where all of the top-performing regions will send their teams. The announcement post notes that the teams’ performances in each of the showdowns will determine specific invites. The Gauntlet has no set location yet, but will take place from October 10 to 13, which is after the 2019 season of Overwatch League ends.

Contenders has been inconsistent when it comes to whether or not its players get to play at live, LAN events like these, or simply online. The problem is that different regions have different setups, and anyone’s teams that don’t get to play in LAN events are poorly prepared for moving up the ladder to Overwatch League — where it all takes place at live events. It might not seem like much, but it’s a different game. The servers are different and the all of the pressure of playing on a brightly-lit stage in front of an audience adds a lot to the experience. This should add a lot more value to Blizzard’s whole “Path to Pro” circuit and keep the professional scene fresh.

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